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A Message From Safeco Insurance

Taking care of our customers, employees and agents is a top priority for Safeco. We recognize the uncertainty and financial challenges many of our joint customers are facing as the nation bands together to slow the spread of the coronavirus. To help Safeco customers, we have taken the following actions:

Personal Auto Customer Relief Refund

Fewer drivers are on the road, which means fewer accidents. With this in mind, we are announcing our Personal Auto Customer Relief Refund, which will return approximately $250 million to our Liberty Mutual personal lines and Safeco auto customers. Here’s how it works:

  • Personal auto insurance customers will receive a 15% refund of two months of their annual auto premium as of April 7, 2020, pending regulatory approval.
  • The refunds will begin in April and will be issued either by check or in the manner the customer made their most recent payment.
  • The payments will happen automatically. Customers do not need to call Safeco to receive a refund.

Safeco agent commissions WILL NOT be affected by this 15% customer refund.

Payment flexibility options

  • Late fee charges have been automatically stopped and cancellations due to non-payment have been temporarily paused for personal auto and home customers from March 23 through at least May 22, 2020.
  • We continue to work with individual customers to extend payment dates if needed and provide personalized support.

Delivery coverage expansion for auto policies

  • All personal auto policies have been expanded to cover customers who use their personal vehicles to deliver food and medicine.  Standard Safeco personal auto policies typically exclude such coverage.
  • This additional protection is in effect for all personal auto policies in all states for losses occurring from March 16 to May 22, 2020, and reported by July 1, 2020.

For more information on all of the information above, customers can visit www.Safeco.com/Covid-19.

The well-being and support of our customers, agents and employees remain our primary concern during this critical time. I really appreciate the work you are doing to support our shared customers, and I thank you for your continued partnership.

Checklist for Spring Cleaning Your Home and Car in a Weekend

Having a clean home or a clean car is a great feeling. While it can be a pain to get started mentally, it’s always worth it once it’s complete. Here is a quick checklist to help you when it comes to spring cleaning your vehicle and your home. Consider committing a few hours to your car and your home over a weekend. With a solid to-do list, you may find it takes less time than you think.

Five Things to Do For Your Car –

  • Check the conditions on your tires. Any visible sidewall damage or bulging?
  • Wipe down all windows on the inside. While you’re at it, wipe down your dash with a vinyl cleaner. Not only will it be nice to wipe away any dust or grime, but it can help protect against the sun’s UV rays.
  • Check for the last maintenance visit. How long has it been since your last oil change?
  • Check your wiper blades. Are they cracked or do they leave streaks?
  • Give your car a wash, possible wax and vacuum the interior! If you have the supplies at home, great! If not, drive down to your local car wash to tidy up the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Doing so will help maintain the value of your vehicle.

Five things to do for your home –

  • Dust

Make a checklist of all the areas in your house where dust can collect. We typically look to dust televisions, window sills, baseboards, blinds, picture frames, night stands, the top of cabinets or ceiling fans or bed frames.

  • Organize

Go through your cupboards and closets. Consider donating any clothing you haven’t worn in over a year. Organize your cupboards like your food pantry, junk drawers or storage closets.

  • Change smoke detector batteries

This chore takes less than 5 minutes to complete. If you have a carbon monoxide detector, check the batteries there too.

  • Disinfect

This may take a little more time. It’s always good to wipe out your refrigerator a few times a year. You can disinfect areas like your shower, tub, toilet or wash your shower curtains. Also, disinfect your TV remote, door knobs, computer mouse or drawer handles.

  • Donate

It feels good to get rid of things! Whether it’s going through your closet to donate clothing or going through your garage, getting rid of things can make your life feel organized.

We hope this short checklist to spring cleaning your home or car is helpful. If have questions about your car insurance or other vehicle insurance, contact us! We can also do a policy review for your home or condo insurance. Take advantage of working with a local independent insurance agency to ensure you have the right insurance coverage for your needs.

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Update To Our Clients and Friends

Heuer Insurance Agency is committed to serving you, while also trying to keep our employees, clients and community safe during this pandemic. With everyone’s health in mind, we have decided to suspend all in-person interactions at our office until further notice. Our physical office may be closed to the public, but our team is still available to provide you with the same care and service you have come to expect.

You can reach us by phone, email or text during normal business hours. Most, if not all, day to day transactions can be handled in this manner. In addition to email, we have e-sign capabilities should you be required to sign paperwork.

Please call or text our main number, 775.358.5554 or email us at [email protected] for all your insurance needs during this time. If you need to make a delivery or have a previously scheduled appointment, please knock on the door and someone will assist you.

If your business has been affected by the current situation, we encourage you to reach out to your insurance carrier directly. We are able to advise you in this procedure, should the need arise.

We encourage everyone to stay home whenever possible. If everyone does their part, we will get through this together and stay as healthy as possible.

Our physical doors may be locked, but our team will be here to help you as always, just at a safe social distance for now. We will continue to update you as the situation evolves. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

 

Customized Vehicle Insurance For Your Car, Truck or Motorcycle

A lot of people take great pride in their vehicles and for them it isn’t only an asset, it is something that expresses their individuality. But, if you’re customizing a vehicle, whether it be a car, motorcycle or ATV, you want to make sure that your insurance policy covers the custom parts and equipment as well as the modifications and labor that might be going into it.

Lifted Vehicles

For those of us who have owned or currently own a lifted truck or SUV, they’re a lot of fun! Not only are they more capable off-road, but you get a higher vantage point for visibility and driving them can add to your enjoyment of owning the vehicle altogether. However, be sure to let your insurance agent know that you have a vehicle with modified suspension. In the event of a claim, custom suspension and wheels and tires can be considered custom parts and equipment. This means that unless you have an endorsement for larger, more expensive wheels and tires as well as the lift kit, you may be out the difference in price from stock if you find yourself in a claims situation. Typically this is called a Custom Parts & Equipment endorsement.

Custom Paint

A custom paint job can set your vehicle apart from the rest and express your individuality. If you have a car with a custom paint job on your car or motorcycle, you’ll want to be sure to get the Custom Parts & Equipment endorsement for this too. Custom paint is expensive and if you find yourself without the coverage, you’re not likely to be compensated fairly without it.

Custom parts and equipment (CPE)

The simple rule of thumb with CPE is that if it wasn’t that way from the factory it is considered custom. Custom parts and equipment can include the following items:

  • Stereo system
  • Navigation System
  • Custom Wheels & Tires
  • Lift Kits
  • Paint Jobs
  • Chrome Accessories
  • Custom seat, handlebars, grips, exhaust & more on motorcycles for example.

Custom parts and equipment is not a standard type of coverage. Some insurance companies offer basic CPE coverage for certain types of vehicles like motorcycles but as a rule of thumb and a precautionary, never assume that your custom parts are covered. Be sure to tell your licensed independent agent about the custom parts on your car, truck or specialized vehicle like your motorcycle to ensure you have the right amount of protection and can replace your vehicle in the event of a loss.

Separating Myth From Fact for Auto Insurance

When it comes to purchasing auto insurance there are many myths that exist. Let’s take a closer look at some of these myths and help you understand why they may not be true.

Auto Insurance Is More Expensive For Men

If you have two individuals of the same age who live in the same town, one male and the other female, it is not true that the male will pay more for his insurance. In fact, there are many variables that come into play when an insurance company determines premium. Some of those are:

  1. Garaging Zip Code
  2. Driving history
  3. Credit report
  4. Loss history
  5. Education level
  6. Type of vehicle
  7. And many more!

To find out what your premium might be, the only way is to get a quote. Compare companies and coverage options that you need by talking to an independent agent. We can compare many companies side by side.

Older Cars Cost Less To Insure

Not true. For instance, your personal injury protection will likely be less on a newer vehicle because it is equipped with more safety features to aid you in the event of an accident – meaning you’re more likely to be injured in an older vehicle without airbags for example. However, insurance costs for comprehensive and collision coverage do tend to go down the older a vehicle gets because it is simply worth less money.

If someone borrows your car, they are responsible for the insurance.

In most states, insurance follows the vehicle. It is called “permissive use.” If you give someone permission to drive your vehicle, you’re also essentially giving them permission to use your insurance. Now, be careful here because if someone is in your household and not listed on your insurance policy and has regular access and use to your vehicle, you may find yourself in a tricky claims situation because that person should be listed on your insurance policy.

I have an auto insurance policy so it will cover me when I’m delivering food or working for a rideshare company.

If your job requires you to deliver food using your own vehicle or you work part time as an Uber or Lyft driver, you need a special insurance policy. Typically an endorsement to your regular auto insurance, this provides coverage for you while you’re using your vehicle for work related purposes.

Your friend pays less for their insurance than you do so that means you’re paying too much.

Insurance is specific to the driver, their history, vehicle, garaging zip code, usage and so many other factors. There are hundreds of different scenarios that can be calculated to determine your auto insurance premiums. Just because your friend pays less for a similar car, does not mean you’re overpaying.

If you ever want to know if you’re paying too much or want to know all your options for auto insurance, call us! As an independent insurance agency, we have many choices for insurance. Oftentimes we can share with you the insurance premiums of up to 10 different insurance companies in the same time it takes to do a single quote. Trust us to find you the best rates and service for your specific situation. We can also help you dispel other myths that exist with insurance premiums.

Flood Insurance Facts, Coverage & Questions Answered!

The Myth: Homeowners Insurance Covers My Home From All Damage

Flood insurance is one of the more commonly misunderstood insurance coverages. Many homeowners assume that if they have a homeowner’s insurance policy, then they’re covered from all water damage that could occur to their home. This is not true. Flood insurance is not typically included in standard home insurance policies – it requires a separate policy altogether.

Where Can Flood Insurance Be Purchased From?

Most places you purchase home insurance from will also offer you an option for flood insurance. Flood insurance can be purchased easily from your local independent insurance agent – including us!

Is Flood Insurance Expensive?

Flood insurance prices will vary depending on many factors. Those factors can include:

  • Value of your home
  • Location of your home (is it likely to flood – near rivers, streams, swamps etc.)
  • Primary or secondary residences
  • Basements
  • & more.

If you want to get a general idea, we can quickly provide you with a quote or you can go to FEMAs website and look up your home address and assess your risk. The quickest way to understand your risk and get a quote would be to contact our agency.

Doesn’t FEMA Cover My Flood Loss?

In order for FEMA to step in and help, the President of the United States must declare a FEMA emergency. This is done in roughly 50 percent of major floods (according to FEMA.GOV). Even then, the assistance provided is a low interest loan that needs to be repaid. This is not free money given out.

A Pipe Broke In My House, Do I need Flood Insurance?

No. A broken pipe in your home is not what flood insurance is for. This would be covered by your standard home insurance policy.

My Sewer Backed Up Into My Home, Is This Flood Insurance?

No, unless the sewer backed up clearly because of a flood and rising flood waters. There is a coverage available called Water & Sewer Backup coverage. You may ask your agent about this and what it covers.

How Fire & Water Can Create Floods

Do you live in or have property located in an area that recently had wildfires? Trees suck up so much water when they are alive. If these trees die off, this creates excess runoff in areas not typically prone to flooding. This can increase your chances of being involved in a flood.

Only you can decide whether having flood insurance is right for you. While it is mostly optional (unless you live in a high flood prone area and your mortgage carrier requires it), it may help save you thousands of dollars in expenses.

Call us today to run a no obligation quote for you. We can quickly produce numbers for you so you can decide whether or not flood insurance is the right choice for you.

Thinking Of Buying An Old or Historic Home? Consider This Before.

Older homes exude character. Not only do their walls tell a history, but often the character, details and warmth inside of one of these homes is unmatched in today’s quickly built society. Instead of taking months to build a single home by hand, entire neighborhoods can now be constructed in less time.  If you’re considering purchasing an older home, there are many things to consider during the search as well as when you’re ready to buy.

Outdated Electrical

Updating a home’s electrical system to a more modern electrical panel, grounded switches and updated in-wall wiring can be very expensive. According to Angie’s List, expect to pay anywhere between $8,000-15,000 for an average sized home. Additionally, you may require an upgraded service to the home which can add additional cost. Because you need to get into the walls, this also means repairing all the walls in the home that had to be cut out so you could run the new wiring and disconnect the old.

Outdated Plumbing

Older homes typically will have some form of older plumbing still in place even if the majority of the system was replaced. The most common ones are the sewer line, water supply line and, depending on when the system was updated, could even be out of date again. For instance, if galvanized pipes were replaced by Polybutylene piping in the 70’s, this would also need to be replaced.

Foundation

Depending on the home, it is possible the home doesn’t even have a foundation. Some older homes were built on post and pier meaning they don’t have a concrete foundation they sit on. This can make insuring a home more difficult. The simplest way to check for any foundation problems is to just walk the home. Do the floors feel crooked? Are doors difficult to close? Are there cracks in the walls? These are all signs that the home may have foundation issues.

Dry Rot

Throughout the life of any home, a leak will develop. Whether around a window, the foundation or the roof leaks occur. If a length of time goes when that leak is not detected the water can get into walls and stay wet for years. This can cause dry rot. Detecting dry rot can be difficult. Your best indicator may be your nose. Does it smell musty?

Mold

Mold goes hand in hand with dry rot. If water enters the home and things remain wet, mold can form. Again, use your nose and see if you can detect any musty odors.

Asbestos

Asbestos was a commonly used product in building materials in from the 1930s-1950s. It was used on everything from siding to ceiling and wall plaster materials to duct tape. While buying a home that contains asbestos isn’t necessarily bad as long as the product is not disturbed, it can cause a huge challenge and added cost if you plan to remodel. Do your research.

Lead Paint

Older homes built prior to 1978 have a high likelihood of containing lead based paint. While most have likely been painted over by now, it is important to understand that these paints can be dangerous if you plan to remodel or disturb them.

Insurance Costs

Generally speaking, it is possible that it will cost more to insure an older home. The only way to determine pricing on an individual home would be to get a quote on the specific address. You may find that it is less than insuring a newer home, so do your homework and work with an independent agent who can find you a great rate on your home insurance.

While older homes come with their challenges, it is usually impossible to recreate the charm, character and history these homes have. While you enjoy being a caretaker of this property we can help you protect it with a great home insurance policy.

The Benefits of Buying Your Insurance Policy Through a Local Agent Vs. Online Yourself

There are many ways these days to buying an insurance policy. Some people may feel the easiest way is to simply go online and purchase it yourself. You could even shop many carriers yourself to find the best rate for the coverage you need. However, there are many more additional benefits you could gain by going through a local insurance agency.

Save Yourself Time

As we mentioned above, yes you could shop for insurance yourself through several of the top insurance carriers. But, what is your time worth? By shopping with a local insurance agent, we can do the shopping for you. Get 10 quotes or more at once! We’ll provide you many choices by shopping our top insurance carriers to find you the best coverage at an affordable price. In fact, many of our companies are likely the big ones you’ve heard of. If for any reason you want to change insurance carriers down the road, we can do that for you – you don’t need to change agents.

Get Professional Advice

Instead of guessing what coverage you might need, you can get professional advice by working with a local insurance agency. Since we specialize in this field, we can listen to your needs and find the right coverage that matches. We can also ensure you don’t have any gaps in coverage in the event you have an insurance claim.

Truly Understand The Coverage You Are Buying & Additional Coverage Options Available

Insurance can be complicated. We try to simplify the process. Not only do we want to help you understand your current insurance policy, but help if you are interested in different coverage options. Feel confident knowing you’re informed about exactly the coverages you have and what you might want to consider.

Score a Discount

Our licensed agents are discount detectives. Let them search for all the hidden discounts so you get the best rates and coverage for your money. We understand it is important you have affordable insurance coverage. That’s why we are constantly looking for ways to get you to qualify for a discount. If you are unhappy with your insurance plan at renewal, we can look at coverage options through other carriers to find the best fit for you.

Have a Relationship With Your Agent Vs. Calling an 800 number

We are a phone call or email away. By working with the same agency time and time again, we can help you with anything. From claims, to policy updates or questions, we strive to be a partner you trust and can rely on.

If you are in need of an insurance policy, call Heuer Insurance Agency. We can help you find affordable coverage for your auto, home or business. Get a free insurance quote today.

What Holiday Gifts Should I Insure?

The season of giving (and receiving!) is such a joyous time. Not only do families typically make the most effort to get together, but it is a time to enjoy some holiday cheer with some gift exchanges and great food and drinks.

If you’re lucky enough to be the recipient of an expensive gift this holiday season, you may wonder if you need to insure that product. While your existing home or renters insurance policy already includes a certain amount of coverage for personal property, some items like jewelry and collectibles should have their own line of coverage called an endorsement or floater. Home insurance isn’t designed to cover special items, but is instead designed to provide coverage for day to day items that are easily replaced like clothes, appliances and furniture. If you have special jewelry or collectibles, consider a special policy or endorsement for these items.

Jewelry that you may want to have a floater or endorsement for can include:

  • Expensive watches, rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings
  • Rare or vintage pieces

Collectibles that you should consider insuring can include:

  • Comic books
  • Rare toys
  • Furs
  • Stamp collections
  • Firearms
  • Sports cards

Other things to consider when insuring your jewelry or collectibles:

Keep an up-to-date appraisal.

Collectibles and fine jewelry can increase or decrease in value dramatically. The last time the economy turned down, collectibles took a big hit because people didn’t have the money to buy them and the market was flushed with people trying to sell them to make some extra money. Like the collectible market, fine metals like Gold, Silver and Platinum fluctuate daily so if you’ve gone years without getting a jewelry appraisal, you may want to revisit that.

What does insurance pay on the items you have when it comes to a claim settlement?

If you purchase a collectibles or jewelry endorsement it would be good to understand the differences in policy coverages. For instance, by selecting something called agreed value, you can ensure you get that amount of coverage. If you insure your rare Spider Man comic book for $4,500, if something happens to it and it is stolen or destroyed, you’ll get that $4,500 not the current value should it depreciate.

Most of the companies we represent allow these items to be scheduled right on your home or renters insurance policy. Call an agent today to see if you should add an endorsement for your special item. Enjoy the holidays and if we can answer anything for you about your home or auto insurance during this holiday season, please give us a call.

Benefits of Bundling Your Insurance Policies

Insurance Agent Sparks, NV

Insurance Agent Sparks, NV“Bundle your home and auto & save!” “Save by bundling your insurance policies together!”

We seem to be inundated with commercials and advertisements telling us to bundle our insurance policies together. What is the reason behind this and is really a better option for your insurance?

Benefits of Bundling

Discounts

Some of the benefits associated with bundling your insurance policies together are discounts. The more you bundle, typically, the more you save. While the most common bundled policy is the home and auto policy, some insurance companies discount other product bundles such as auto and motorcycle. It depends on each carrier.

Consolidated Billings

Bundling your policies together can help eliminate confusion over your billing. While home insurance may go to your escrow company, it is easier to understand when your bill comes from a single source.

Access to more products

Many companies will require the auto policy to write an umbrella policy. While typically the umbrella policy is written under the property portion of your insurance. Do note, there are some companies who will just write an umbrella policy.

Why would you not bundle?

Sometimes bundling your insurance policies just doesn’t make sense. Some circumstances in which you may not be able to bundle your insurance can be:

  • Young drivers
  • SR22 Insurance
  • High Risk Drivers
  • Dangerous dog in household
  • Earthquake or Flood Insurance

Every once in a while auto insurance may seem too high, but you’re happy with your home insurance carrier. In this instance, you can use the full benefit of an independent insurance agent by writing the home with one carrier and the auto insurance with another carrier. Just because you’re splitting the policies doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay more. An agent in our office can show you all the prices between several carriers and help guide you as to what makes the most sense for your specific situation.

If you’re in the market for a new or replacement insurance policy, you’ve come to the right place. Independent insurance agents are the only agents who have access to multiple top-rated insurance companies. By shopping with an independent agent, you can compare coverage, pricing, payment plans and look at bundling your insurance policies all with one phone call. The benefits of having an independent insurance agent don’t stop there. As your life changes, your agent can adapt to your needs finding you’re the right new company for your new situation such as getting married, having a teen driver and more. Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your insurance.